cover image Condomnauts


Yoss, trans. from the Spanish by David Frye. Restless, $16.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-63206-186-7

Yoss (Super Extra Grande) is an eminent Cuban SF writer who also fronts a heavy metal band; his iconoclastic spirit and rock-and-roll aesthetic are on full ingenious display in this daring, rollicking, and joyous novel. When humans first encountered aliens, they discovered that the entire sentient galaxy follows a simple rule to make cross-species trade harmonious: demonstrate mutual acceptance by having sex. This leads to the development of a new profession: Contact Specialist, or condomnaut. Josué Valdes, an orphan from the ruins of post-nuclear Cuba, is a Contact Specialist but lacks the advantages of training or built-in nanotechnology to assist him in alien sex. He longs to secure his place as a citizen of the wealthy Catalan Nu Barsa arcology, and maybe get his name into the history books, using natural talent and sheer chutzpah. His swagger is shared by the book’s bravura plot and setting. The novel is recognizable as a space opera, but everything from human history to the economics of galactic trade is seen from a richly irreverent angle. Josué is a three-dimensional, well-rounded protagonist whose flaws can be genuinely aggravating without overwhelming his natural charm. When hilarity ensues, as it often does, the laughs are earned and heartfelt. This extended dirty joke is also an impressive science fiction novel with much to say about sex, culture, and what it means to be alien. (July)